This grungy, worker-owned collective near the University campus attracts counterculture types hungry for vegetarian and vegan food 22 hours a day (it's closed between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. daily). Between the colorful walls and the guys playing chess, the place feels like a neighborhood community center, except for the free condoms. There's also a box of donated clothes, and many patrons who look like they dress out of it. Despite the grit, the Hard Times fixes up honest grub, from meatless omelets to a tempeh Reuben that tastes just as good as the real thing.
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The other night, well past midnight, I watched with some sadness as a grown man carried a frozen pizza home from the corner gas station. While I sympathize with the occasional craving for shrink-wrapped, cardboard-backed foods, and ...